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High in conscience, utility conscious outerwear

Made with 100% sustainably harvested wild Canadian Eiderdown – the warmest & rarest on earth. #KeepWild

How did it all begin?

As a kid who grew up in fashion, it was already in my blood. But so was the constant feeling that I could do it differently. That I could create and design clothing that had both a positive impact on people and the environment. So using my business for good became my driver – and creating an ethical supply chain became my mission. I wanted Olmsted to be an engine of (gorgeous) change.

What sets your business apart?

We walk the talk – down to our packaging! Because we work with wild Canadian eiderdown migrations to sustainably harvest our down – that is in fact, the warmest and rarest on earth – which in turn, helps nurture biodiversity. Our outerwear is as ethical as it is aesthetically designed.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?


Olmsted is a shift in thinking. We want each and every customer to embrace the elements by wearing their values. By using their buying power to help sustain fragile and wild ecosystems. And to encourage biodiversity while looking and feeling amazing – in the harshest of elements.

We like to call it positive luxury. From Montreal to Berlin. New York to New Zealand. And into the deep Canadian wild. Because providing major insulation with minimal impact is something no other outerwear brand is doing – it’s the harder way. But it’s the #KeepWild way. And we’re only just beginning.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

We’d like to be the #1 reference for Eiderdown in the world – without growing so much that we can’t maintain our mission of biodiversity protection, circularity, species preservation and thoughtful design, production and packaging. In other words, we plan on staying small but mighty. (Just like the eider duck herself.) Because what’s next for us is more beautiful and lasting pieces that keep like-minded wanderers warm, that keep winters wonderful and that keep habitats in perfect, wild balance.

Mélanie Ellezam

Founder of

Olmsted Outerwear

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

Product development is what I love the most! Fabrics, fibres and shapes. If I could, I would design all day, every day. Of course design is far from the core of my entrepreneurial days, but it’s what I’m truly passionate about.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

When I was in my early 20’s, I spent lots of time sailing and diving in the Atlantic ocean. Exploring coral reefs and wildlife. To this day, I can still see the immense beauty, hear the silence at night on deck and feel the absolute small-ness of humanity in this infinite sea. But I can also recall the absolute shock – even back then – of a lone, plastic margarine lid floating amidst the pure natural beauty. It struck me as a sort of calling. One which both motivates and humbles me to this day. I wanted to be a designer and an agent of change.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

The incredible people I’ve met and discovered along the way are by far the highlights of this amazing journey!

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

Never assume anything, always be curious and ask lots of questions.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Your energy is currency.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

For one, you don’t have your plan all mapped out! (Although you’ll try to.) The journey itself – complete with detours and accidents can take you to places far beyond your expectations. By daring to accept the adventure and embracing the unknown, you’re sure to find your success.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?


Olmsted is a Lean start-up – in that, we brought the product to market fast to build from our clientele’s feedback and grow alongside our suppliers. We have been continuously supporting new ecological product development and adapting our product to their ever-changing, more energy-efficient and eco-friendly new materials.

Being the most sustainable and having a positive impact on the people and the planet means continuous flexibility – adaptability remaining open and receptive.

Olmsted was Self-funded with the incredible help of our dearest friends and family. We call it love money, right? Growth is a journey and we are clearly in the heart of it.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?


By definition, innovation is a challenge. And because the roots of Olmsted lie in social and green innovation, we’ve definitely seen a few bumps in the road! But resilience and bravery is something we borrow (and cherish) from one of our inspirations, F.Law Olmsted.

Because when we started, the product didn’t yet exist, so we didn’t know if it would work! How could we guarantee supply when it was dependent on a wild natural resource? How can we do it without really relying on anyone else?

We overcame these early day hurdles by just taking it a day at a time. Trying not to overthink it. And developing our own recipe for ethical collaboration – which enabled us to create (amazing!) relationships with key partners and suppliers.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

I think that women in general have a more holistic approach to business – with values like inclusivity, social impact and environmental responsibility – we encourage that king thinking and action in business.

60

Seconds

with

Mélanie Ellezam

My inspiration is...

Nature and wild adventures.

My greatest fear is...

The loss of biodiversity.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as a crew of three.

Guilty pleasure?

Travelling with my love.

Mantra you live by?

“Listen more than you talk”.

Female role model?

Pashon Murray.

Women-led brand you love?

Room 502, JB Skin Saavï, Ulla Johnson, Tamara Mellon.

Top productivity tool?

I loooove Google’s G suite - I’m grateful for it every day!

Olmsted Outerwear has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members

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